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Title: Interview with Bobby Kidd Identifier: 1997oh037 Date: 12 Dec 1996 Interviewer: Jerrell Reynolds Project: Blue Diamond/Stearns Coal Mining Strike

JERRELL REYNOLDS: . . . probably.

BOBBY KIDD: Well.

REYNOLDS: The following is an unrehearsed taped interview with Bobby Kidd, a miner at the time of the Stearns strike. The interview was conducted by Jerrell Reynolds a student at Eastern Kentucky University for the Blue Diamond coal mine strike at Stearns oral history project. The interview was conducted at Revelo, Kentucky on December 12, 1996 at approximately 4:30 pm. State your name for me please.

KIDD: Bobby Kidd.

REYNOLDS: Bob would you give me a brief history of what you did down in the coal mines, what was your job?

KIDD: I run a roof bolter.

REYNOLDS: You run a roof bolter down there?

KIDD: And I was a brattice man.

REYNOLDS: Ah, a lot of fellows I was talking to talked about safety problems down there at Justice.

KIDD: Worst in the world. Worst safety there ever was in a coal mine. Blue Diamond Coal Company was the sorriest coal company that ever run a chunk of coal.

REYNOLDS: Was safety as bad as men say it was down there?

1:00

KIDD: It was worse.

REYNOLDS: Um. Why do, is that the reason men went on strike down there

KIDD: That's right. Safety was the reason, it wasn't high, it wasn't ah, ah, money. It wasn't insurance not in me, it was the safety. They just violated every safety record in the book.

REYNOLDS: Did you all make any complaints to the?

KIDD: Made them every day. They was made to the foreman's all the time and that's as far as it went.

REYNOLDS: You think they didn't uh inform the other people about the problems

KIDD: Why no, they wouldn't, I know, its, its safety violations and all that. But they wouldn't go. But a, a, a federal miner state man come in there and they smoothed it over. I believe they got, I believe. I belive uh uh the state and the federal got a payoff down there. REYNOLDS: Was there any way you think the 2:00strike could have been avoided down there?

KIDD: Yeah, if they'd have come across with safety they wouldn't have come out on no strike. Let me tell you the whole, going up in ah, ah, ah the north main, and [unclear] the main north main was completely gobbed off. If somebody had got killed or hurt down there we'd have had to carry them up over rock, gobbed up rock for, ah, I'd say uh 1500 feet. Had to carry them over rocks for 1500 feet. Hey they didn't know what safety was or they didn't use it.

REYNOLDS: Who was the safety man down there.

KIDD: Tom Perry was on day shift. Uh, uh But hey, Tom Perry couldn't do what 3:00Frank Thomas and the Blue Diamond and them wanted him to do. Tom Perry cold tell them about it and they'd tell him if he liked his job go on or whatever. Wasn't nothing Tom Perry could do about it. He could report this but he'd go the, the garbage I guess. It didn't go, it didn't go to high officials. They didn't want to hear about safety. They wanted the coal out from under that earth buddy and that's all they want. And they didn't give a darn how they got it.

REYNOLDS: So you feel like uh they just wanted you guys to work and they didn't care if you got hurt or what?

KIDD: They didn't care, they didn't care because they could always replace us with another man, buddy. Hey men was easy get in the mines.

REYNOLDS: Ah, was that ah pretty profitable operation, operation back then, Sterns?

KIDD: Ah, safety?

REYNOLDS: No the coal mine, was it a pretty profitable operation?

KIDD: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah that's all that was going on in this county. But 4:00some they to the last straw now, they'll never mine no more coal over where they mined this on account of that park. Bud, Blue Diamond will never run another clot of coal here, not in this county they won't. Their mining days is over. All due to that strike. If they'd have signed that contract and kept this mines a going they could have mined coal for eternity. But since they done the way they done this park's went in here, Hey the federal government ain't going to see dead fish going down through this park back here. They'll never mine her no more. See, they could have mine this. The united miners wouldn't have let this park come in here. But it's too late now, that's ancient history. Bud, they found their [unclear]. Ah, ah you can talk about coal mining all you want to but McCreary county's done. They'll never be no more mines here, due to this federal park. Now you think I'm wrong , what I'm just sitting here telling you, used to Stearns company killed fish in this river down here, just train loads of fish. 5:00Nothing never was said about it. But never no more because it got bad down here now in this federal park and they ain't going to see no more dead fish go down this river.

REYNOLDS: That's right I hadn't thought about that.

KIDD: Huh?

REYNOLDS: I hadn't

KIDD: Do some thinking. You're young yet but after I'm dead and gone this old gray haired man, you can say hey buddy he knowed what he was talking about. They'll never, Blue Diamond, hey that's. this is ancient history, And theys a sorry coal company anyway. Who'd want to work for them. It'd take, It'd take a damn fool to work for them.

REYNOLDS: How did the ah, United mine workers get involved down here at Stearns, Bob?

KIDD: The men brung them in here. Sent for them, brung them in here. That's how 6:00come men involved on account of this safety. You know, united miners has got ah, ah, ah, I forget what they call them. But they got safety, but they got this big high recommended safety outfit ah. [snaps fingers] Well, I can't, get it on my tongue, but anyhow United miners is really got the safety. Uh, what is it , ah, like where they go out there to these little bitty unions, and they got this safety like at Knoxville where there digging these ditches, name some of them and I'll tell you.

REYNOLDS: I'm drawing a blank myself I...

KIDD: But you know what I'm talking about don't you?

REYNOLDS: Yeah.

KIDD: Now, uh united miners had real safety buddy. Hey you wouldn't go in a place that wasn't safe. Hey they'd send you under a rock down there and get you killed. They did at boss man. They run Elmer Mar under a rock down there and got him killed. I worked for him. Hey they'll run you under anything that Blue Diamond would. Sorriest coal company that ever mined a chunk of coal.

REYNOLDS: Um.

7:00

KIDD: Is that what Jim Douglas and them told you?

REYNOLDS: Oh, They ah, said that they didn't much care for them, . . .

KIDD: They didn't tell you they was sorry?

REYNOLDS: They didn't even go that far.

KIDD: Well I will. I told you that. I said I'm telling if he wants to know about the mines and I , I , hey I don't beat around the bush. I say what I think. And if Gordon Bonneman wants to listen to that tape I wish he would and come to my home and talk to me. I'd tell him how damn sorry he was. [laughing]

REYNOLDS: When the united mine workers came in did they uh help you guys out quite a bit?

KIDD: Oh yeah.

REYNOLDS: What were some of the things they did?

KIDD: Well they give us $100 a week to live on. But hey we was making more money 8:00than that. Just like I said we didn't come out for money. We didn't even come out for insurance. We come out for the safety of that mine. You know why we come out for the safety of that mine? It had methane gas in it and we was going to blow that thing up.

REYNOLDS: Is that the only problem they had down there just the gas and rock falls?

KIDD: Well yeah and bad, bad top and they, they, they didn't want no safety they didn't care. They'd run you under anything buddy to get a clot of coal.

REYNOLDS: Now, ah, tell me about some of the times you had on the picket line. Tell me what you will and tell me a little bit about the picket line.

KIDD: Well I was the first one went to jail off of it. Uh, why they sent them security guards in there.

REYNOLDS: Storm security.

KIDD: That storm security, yeah and they come down there and went to shooting 9:00and banging around. And I run five of them off one night with a flip shot. They wasn't smart. They was scared. And sorry as, well they was scabs. They just made up a misdemeanor. They was rouges liars, thieves, and murderers. They was just crooks. Let me tell you something buddy there ain't no way I trust a scab. A man that will run a picket line after another man's job he'd do anything in the world for that job.

REYNOLDS: If you have to cross the picket line that's not right.

KIDD: Yes sir, he, he, he'd do anything. He'd come at night and steal your car, your battery, your tires, he'd do anything in the world but a scab will never walk up to your face and face you. There ain't a scab ever run that picket line come up to me and face me. There ain't no way, ain't no way.

REYNOLDS: Um, when you was down there did they give you a pretty rough way to go, storm security.

KIDD: Oh yeah, shot at us every day. Shot every day.

10:00

REYNOLDS: Well what did you fellows have to do just find, try to find a place to hide.

KIDD: Yeah or get behind a log or behind the house, that old shack we had there, 11:00or whatever. Get behind vehicles or whatever. That's , that's the only way they'd do it. a, a, a One scab wouldn't come up and say hey buddy you come across here and lets fight. And if he had a, a, a, tree on the picket line and there was fifteen of them scabs they's do that. A scab's chicken buddy. They, they, they [unclear] . I despise the scab, he's worthless. He's useless. That's what, that's what went with this mines down here. They got al them greenhorn scabs down here and they didn't know how to run the coal. Gordon Bonneman shut her down and let Georgia Power have their contract back. See Gordon Bonneman and Georgia Power had a contract for this coal down here.

REYNOLDS: Twenty years, a million tons.

KIDD: Fifty-five dollars a ton, well Georgia Power was a, a, a buying coal out 12:00of Wyoming, scab coal, for $25 a ton delivered down here. What did they want Gordon Bonneman's coal for. But after they see'd that Gordon Bonneman wouldn't producing the coal that he told them he'd produce, they just said Well here we'll just pay you for our contract back. And Gordon Bonneman said You want it back give me $3 million dollars. That's the way I understand it and so Georgia Power give Gordon Bonneman $3 million dollars back and got its contract back. Uh, Georgia Power got their contract back. And then they went to getting coal out of Cheyenne, Wyoming or somewhere out there, strip coal. In Wyoming, out there Bud, scabs out there mixing to and fro, stripping, ah stripping enough coal that they'd taking care of London, England and the United States. They'd strip and 11 foot clean coal right there in Wyoming right today. And there'll never be another mine right here in McCreary county. I, I, I'd bank on that. You can take that to the bank. [laughing]

REYNOLDS: This strike was pretty hard on families, how did it affect you?

KIDD: Worse in the world. Just me and my wife we didn't have no children. It was just as hard on us as it was a man that had a house full of children. You know I had to a, a, a heat my home and had a furnish my home like anyone did have ten or twelve kids.

REYNOLDS: That's right. Did you , ah, you was telling me earlier that you said you lost a sum of money and some land. . . .

KIDD: I lost $45,000 dollars in that strike.

13:00

REYNOLDS: How did you go about that Bob. I mean how did. . . .

KIDD: Well the cost of living and stuff. Hey a man ain't going to live on no $100 dollars a week.

REYNOLDS: No.

KIDD: I don't care who he is. Can you, can you live on that?

REYNOLDS: No.

KIDD: There ain't no way. You buy your clothes and your food and you, a pay your utilities in your home and you try to keep warm and this and that, there ain't no way you can do that. You got to have money from somewhere.

REYNOLDS: well how did you make up the difference for that lose of income Bob? Did you get work elsewhere, did you try to find any kind of work.

KIDD: Oh no, no I had to sell a home and a, a 42 acres of land that I had paid for. That I worked out down there in that coal. I lost it.

REYNOLDS: Had to give it away more or less?

KIDD: Yeah had, well , what you might say to live on.

REYNOLDS: What was the hardest thing you had to deal with down there on the picket line?

KIDD: Scabs. Watching them a take our job. [chuckle] Don't come no harder than 14:00that does it?

REYNOLDS: No. No, that's pretty hard.

KIDD: And 553, 553 state troopers. They had every state trooper in the state of Kentucky down here on this picket line. There's where a taxpayers money was a going.

REYNOLDS: Um, I was at, ah, I went to Revelo school about that time. And I remember um, one day they was going in the back way to Stearns, there was some kind of big commotion in there. About two or three o'clock in the afternoon. WE saw I bet you ten or fifteen state trooper cars going in the back way down there to Justice. Do you remember anything that might have happened that day? I don't remember what day it was but it was like up in the fall off the year and they was just flowing in down there.

KIDD: Well that's when the scabs first started to run in there. This was 1988 wasn't it or along about that time?

REYNOLDS: Um hm.

KIDD: That's when the scabs first started going in and they wanted protection 15:00from us. Which they had to have. You know a scab ain't going to run if the state troopers kept their [unclear] out of it.

REYNOLDS: Who got the state troopers involved?

KIDD: Oh, ah, ah, [snaps fingers] Governor Julian Carroll. And then the son of a bitch run for governor again but he didn't get a, a handful of votes.

REYNOLDS: Did you all not get any help from the state at all?

KIDD: Oh no. Why no they was against us. And the judges, why hey everybody in the country was against us.

REYNOLDS: Why do you think they were against you guys?

KIDD: Well cause they was all paid off. The judges over here at Whitley, and all the law. Hey all the law was even against us.

REYNOLDS: I know there was a restraining order to only allow so many of you fellows on the line at one time.

KIDD: Three. Three. I believe it was three.

REYNOLDS: Tell me about that.

KIDD: Well the just like I said that judge come down with that law. But it 16:00didn't do him no good. I got whenever something there happened we'd all meet there anyhow.

REYNOLDS: Well you all owned that land down there didn't you, that you all walked on?

KIDD: sure did yeah yeah we bought it.

REYNOLDS: Why did you al buy that land?

KIDD: So we could pull our picket, and not be bothered. And they I'll be damned the scabs got a hold of it some way or another and the law got the court and made us sell it.

REYNOLDS: Made you sell the land?

KIDD: Made use sell the land. I got $55 dollars for my part of it. And Neal $35. I made fif-let's see, thirty-five, uh forty-five. I made $20 on it.

REYNOLDS: [chuckling] Getting throwed off your own land making $20.

KIDD: Yeah, yeah got throwed off of it but I got $20. Old Castedd Bashum and old June Hill up there at Revelo, they was a [unclear] in that some way or another. Sorry , hey I wouldn't trust one of them to tell me hello.

REYNOLDS: Hm.

KIDD: Buddy, I mean it I wouldn't. I wouldn't trust one of them to tell me howdy.

17:00

REYNOLDS: When um, when the strike was over and they had that vote, um, what ah, do you remember about that vote they had, to vote either union or non-union. This is toward the end of the strike?

KIDD: Well it carried, it carried union.

REYNOLDS: At the end of the strike?

KIDD: At the end. I mean, yeah, er, well no not at the very end because the strike was done over. See we done whupped at the very end. No the scabs went out and voted on their own. We didn't go vote. I didn't go vote. Done lost the strike, what did I want to go vote for, it wouldn't have done me no good to vote.

REYNOLDS: I read in the paper that 50 united mine worker strikers were allowed to vote.

KIDD: Yeah, yeah.

REYNOLDS: And 70 of the scabs.

KIDD: A hundred and something wasn't it?

REYNOLDS: It was 120 total, was what the paper said. Seventy to Fifty.

KIDD: Yeah. Hey no sticker, no striking miner in his right mind went and voted 18:00anyhow. It was a scabs buddy, that was a turned over thing.

REYNOLDS: It was a lost deal anyway.

KIDD: Well sure. Yeah, If I lose a half a dollar down the toilet some way or another I ain't going to hunt for it. It's gone ain't it.

REYNOLDS: Yep. Uh, there was some fellows that got hurt, shot at. Do you remember anything about those?

KIDD: I had a cousin killed in that strike, Buddy Watson.

REYNOLDS: He, he was the driver right?

KIDD: No. He was a passenger.

REYNOLDS: He was the passenger in the coal truck.

KIDD: He was the passenger, June Hill up here at Revelo was the driver of that pick up truck.

REYNOLDS: Well what happened in that do you remember?

KIDD: Well I'd say he was killed with a 45 pistol.

REYNOLDS: He was killed in the truck you think? By the driver? [laughing]

KIDD: [laughing] Oh hell, you said it. [laughing] You said it.

REYNOLDS: But they're trying to, didn't they try to blame the picketers?

19:00

KIDD: No that won't work. They was an FBI man come down there and called me off after Buddy Watson died, come down the next day. Like he was killed this evening, the next day FBI man called me off that picket line because he knowed I was related to him. And he told me he said "What do you think come off here?" I said "There wasn't no striking miner killed my cousin, Buddy Watson." He said "I know there wasn't" said "I was all in them mountain down there today and yesterday." He said "That's right." Said "somebody will stand right in front of that truck that killed him." So hey. It wasn't no striking miner that killed that boy, no sir.

REYNOLDS: But they tried to lay it off on that?

KIDD: But now them men that was shot in that strike could have been shot by striking miners, now I don't know about that. But Buddy Watson wasn't killed by no striking miner.

REYNOLDS: Well what about the men you say shot, what happened there?

KIDD: Well they was just scabs [laughing].

20:00

REYNOLDS: Scabs got shot or?

KIDD: Yeah, yeah scabs.

REYNOLDS: Some were picketing (unclear) getting shot too?

KIDD: Yeah ah, ah, some of storm security got shot, yeah. They was ah, yeah. But hey I don't blame anybody out there if, if, if somebody's at you shoot back, wouldn't you?

REYNOLDS: Well you got to protect yourself.

KIDD: Yes sir, you got to do something. You can just go so far. See we didn't ... there wasn't no shooting done on that picket line until they started it. Storm security, buddy, started that shooting. Yes sir. Storm security, old bob Storm over here at Corbin or London, wherever he's from. I used to know where he's from, London I believe.

REYNOLDS: I think it's London, yeah.

KIDD: Yeah. He's sorry.

REYNOLDS: Uh, your opinion do you think the union let the men down?

KIDD: No, the men let the union down.

REYNOLDS: How did that happen? How , why do you say that?

21:00

KIDD: Because they let them damn scabs go across the picket line, shouldn't have never done that, buddy. There, anytime you come out on a strike and somebody's crossing your picket line you let him cross that picket line in good health your to lose the damn strike. Your to lose it, buddy, I'm, I'm a telling that now. They shouldn't have never let a scab cross that picket line buddy.

REYNOLDS: What choice did the men have there?

KIDD: Huh?

REYNOLDS: They were pretty much. . . .

KIDD: Oh! Why hey they could have done better than what they done. They done just like this strike done over here. They was afraid to do anything. You can't go on a picket line and be afraid. I'll tell you one thing, old as I am right now if that was done over with again, hey, I'll never see that no more, but that won't work no more, buddy.

REYNOLDS: What do you think the men should have done?

KIDD: Killed every damn one of them, now you asked me. Of killed every son of a 22:00bitch that crossed that picket line. Now you want the truth, I told the truth. Every damn one of them ought to have their heads blowed off. A damn scab don't need to be living.

REYNOLDS: Do you recall anything that ah, were you told anything before the strike by Frank Thomas or any of the other management over there right before you all went out?

KIDD: Oh he said he'd never sign it. Yeah, Frank, Frank told that himself. Said 23:00we ain't never signing up with United miners. Hell we know, I mean, see he, right there he would have been took to court right there. He didn't know whether he'd sign or not, he hasn't ever been tried. You know there's a lot of stuff comes off that a, a, a, don't look reasonable to me. How could a man stand up there and tell his workers he'd never sign with a union? This is a free country, buddy. I went to Korean war and fought for my damn rights. Hey there wasn't a son of a bitch that went in that war and died in my place, I was right there.

REYNOLDS: Um hm.

KIDD: Fourteen months and 29 days in that Korean war. Eleven months and 29 days on the front line over there. And then ah, me, hey I fought for my damn rights and ain't got none.

REYNOLDS: Is this before you all ever voted in the union, when he told you all this?

KIDD: Yeah, we was just fixing to get the union. He said they'd never sign it.

REYNOLDS: Was he pushing his McCreary miners union on you all?

KIDD: Oh yeah, Why sure. Hey [laughs] these little old company unions, hey they ain't worth a damn for nothing.

REYNOLDS: That, well, that union you all had down there it didn't do anything else [unclear]?

KIDD: Hell no, we'd have safety down there.

REYNOLDS: Well who was head of that union, do you recall?

KIDD: Well old June Hill and Cashey Bashum the last of it I guess . And then I 24:00think they made up a new union, some way another.

REYNOLDS: Now was those two men that you mentioned, were they ah miners down there before you went out?

KIDD: Yeah, yeah.

REYNOLDS: And they just stayed on and continued mining.

KIDD: Yeah, scabs yeah, yeah scabs, yeah , yeah .

REYNOLDS: So they was right beside you up until you all voted the union in.

KIDD: Yeah that's right, yeah, yeah. [chuckle] But they didn't run it for a long time.

REYNOLDS: Ah, why do you think they decided to stay? What did they gain by staying?

KIDD: Well I don't know, the company could have give them a good bunch of money or something. I mean, you know could have made it worth their while.

REYNOLDS: Was there anything that you could change about that time back then what would you change?

KIDD: You mean me changing?

REYNOLDS: If you had the power to change it, that whole situation, what would you have done?

KIDD: Blowed the son of a bitch up and left here and gotten another job. You 25:00asked me and I told you. I'd have blowed that son of a bitch a plumb off of the mountain and left here and got me another job. If I'd known they what I know now.

REYNOLDS: Well from what you was telling me as much gas was in there it probably wouldn't have been a hard thing to do.

KIDD: No, no it wouldn't. The damn thing would have been plumb to, ah, eternity.

REYNOLDS: Do you still talk to some of the fellows on the picket line from time to time that you walked picket with?

KIDD: Oh yeah, my buddies.

REYNOLDS: Yeah.

KIDD: But I don't talk to these damn scabs because they couldn't tell you nothing no way but a lie. A scab won't tell you the truth. You could ask him how is your day buddy and he'd say just fine. How would you know he'd be telling you a damn lie, and not be sick. I wouldn't believe one of them and there ain't no way, shit.

REYNOLDS: You think, ah, if you guys hadn't went on a strike Stearns would eventually fix that place down there? Or do you think there was no way.

KIDD: Oh no, hell no. Uh Gordon Bonneman, no. That mine, no, they'd have blowed 26:00it up. The way we was mining that , buddy we was running coal. Them scabs didn't run no coal while we quit down there. They lost their good miners in that strike buddy. They lost real coal miners, buddy. They went to Beaver Dam, went to Virginia. Hey they went to Illinois, and went to Pennsylvania. Hey, ah, ah, Gordon Bonneman lost his miners. That's the reason he, that's the reason he done what he done with this mine down here. He couldn't run that mine. Then damn scabs didn't know how to run that mine using these scabs and stuff.

REYNOLDS: After Blue Diamond bought that mine down there did they begin pushing you fellows a little bet harder than what you'd been pushed?

KIDD: Oh yeah. They wanted, yeah they wanted a return out of their money. They wanted more coal, more coal. We wanted more safety, more safety, but we didn't get it.

REYNOLDS: Another miner told me, he said that ah, he felt like ah, after Blue 27:00Diamond had bought the place he said that the bosses down there was as good as gold, he said after they bought it they kind of started getting hateful with you and pushing you. Do you recall that being the case?

KIDD: Why yeah, why yeah, that's yah , that's facts. They was afraid they was going to lose their job [laughing].

REYNOLDS: Those ah, men that was working down there, was they ah, did they stay on after Blue Diamond bought the mine?

KIDD: Them scabs?

REYNOLDS: No the bosses. Did the bosses, did they keep Stearns bosses?

KIDD: No now, they was, lets see now, ah Tom Perry, and ah, Milford Ross, ah, I believe they lost three bosses ah, yeah Robert Watson or something. They they lost three foreman down there when ah.

REYNOLDS: They quit?

KIDD: Yeah they quit, they wouldn't cross the picket line. Just like I said, 28:00buddy, I don't care. If I'd have owned that mine down there. If I'd have been like Frank Thomas and owned it, hey I wouldn't have crossed that picket line. Would you?

[END OF SIDE ONE]

REYNOLDS: . . . .out on strike.

K; Let's see we went out on strike in '76 and I went to work '65 I believe, 65 to 75, I'd been down there eleven years I guess.

REYNOLDS: Um. Did ah, we talked about some of the men down there, how loyal they was to Stearns and do you feel like the men were pretty loyal down there?

KIDD: Well sure. Any, any good coal miner is loyal to his boss and to his man 29:00that's got him hired. But now whenever you go ignoring safety, buddy, and you go and get a whole bunch blowed up or a whole bunch killed hey it's time to do something of it on your own buddy. You, you don't want to wait and, you can keep asking the company so on and so on about it. They keep telling you well get it and we'll do it. Hey that ain't getting the job done.

REYNOLDS: Did you fell like. Before when you first started for Stearns, and was loyal to them did you fell like maybe you got to be friends with some of them?

KIDD: Well yeah, I was a friend to a lot of bosses. I was friends with the company but whenever Blue Diamond took this thing over hey that all that all left.

REYNOLDS: Do you think that had Blue Diamond not come in that you could have eventually went to the Stearns company and worked it out?

KIDD: Well sure we could have worked something or other out, always did. You 30:00know, I worked for B. R. Cambell and Son down there for a long time. Your dad did too. Hey you could work things out. If, if they thought you needed say, hay they'd pour it in there. But this Gordon Bonneman , buddy, had the worst record there are in a mines. And why the government, why the federal government or the state had let him run a coal mine in the state of Kentucky, they ought to have their head examined.

REYNOLDS: Now just who is this Gordon Bonneman?

KIDD: He's over there at Knoxville. He's the one who owns this Blue Diamond Sedentary coal company, or did. But of course they sold out now to Stearns mining outfit over here in Bristol, Tennessee or somewhere. See, Blue Diamond don't own this no more.

REYNOLDS: Right.

KIDD: It's a , of course they just sold it out here some time back. When this boy got electrocuted over here.

REYNOLDS: Um hm.

KIDD: You remember when that boy got electrocuted?

REYNOLDS: I remember.

KIDD: Well they sold out then to this Bris ... Stearns mine, Stearns out of Bristol back here.

REYNOLDS: It's a different Stearns that owned it before?

KIDD: Yeah, yes. Different one. Supposed to be. Could be right down out of the same basket, couldn't it?

REYNOLDS: Uh huh.

KIDD: But it supposed to be different.

REYNOLDS: Uh. I know one fellow told me, he said if there was a possibility of 31:00ever mining again they could never mine it under the name of Stearns. Do you feel like that?

KIDD: They'll never mine this here no more no way. Never in eternity buddy. Now I told you while, I explained to you while ago.

REYNOLDS: Yeah.

KIDD: This big south fork park ain't going to let no mining water run in this river down here. And where they going to put this mining water?

REYNOLDS: Is all the all the mines run to that river?

KIDD: Well no, now they could open up the mines back in here towards Pine Knot, 32:00a shaft mines, or a back this country. That's right they could dump mining water in the Cumberland river. I don't guess the federal government would say anything about it. but now this Big South Fork River, they got bears over here now. They got game in there and they got a big nice beautiful park back here. of course it's a brush harbor outfit, but they ain't gong to see no dead fish go down this river back here buddy. Cause, hey, unless, if they open up a mine they'd be on them like, hey they'd be on them tooth and toenail buddy, everyday. They couldn't pump mining water and pump it in any peace, because they'd say that right there, you're violated it. There you violated it. Hey it would cost them more to pay for mining water than it would the coal would bring.

[tape interrupted]

REYNOLDS: Bob, what did you , ah, talk about the affects of the strike on your family, what do you think, the type of affect did it have on the county?

KIDD: Well I'd say it had a bad affect on it because there wasn't no money circulating around but what Blue Dia ... or what uh, united miners put in here.

REYNOLDS: Are there any other jobs here?

KIDD: No. Not that we could have worked at. No was there Dawn? You ain't leaving are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. Dad's waiting on me.

KIDD: Well, I'll see you later. Come back over now. [door closes]

33:00

REYNOLDS: How long would you, how long did it take to get other work in here?

KIDD: I don't know when they started putting these, actually I wasn't interested in that no way when they started putting this other stuff in here. I , I'd have. That tent factory come in here when about ten years after the strike was over. I, I'd say it come in here , [unclear] , the strike was over in '79 and I'd say ah, 80, about four years that tent factory come in , don't you guess? I wasn't interested in it. I wasn't going to work at it no way.

REYNOLDS: Ah, the same people that owned that...

KIDD: (unclear)

REYNOLDS: (unclear) Well didn't they have some ah, tie in with Stearns some how or another?

KIDD: Yeah their property is, that's where their that Stearns, or Blue Diamond 34:00had the park property there, that they built these buildings on.

REYNOLDS: Um, do you think that ah, that strike had any ah, bearing on the fact that there ain't a lot of jobs here now in McCreary county? [phone rings]

KIDD: No. no. No I'd say it didn't no. [phone rings] No, they just come here for cheap labor.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Let me answer that. [tape stopped]

KIDD: Stuff in here for cheap labor.

REYNOLDS: Um, you say if Stearns had held on to it you feel like you'd still work down there for a while?

KIDD: Well sure, yeah. I'd say your dad probably told you the same thing, didn't he?

REYNOLDS: Yeah. You ah, knowing what you know now do you wish you hadn't went out on strike?

KIDD: Oh no. Why, no sir. Would have come out a year before we did.

REYNOLDS: Why did you'se wait until when you did dot come out?

KIDD: I guess, ah [laughing] see they was going to get killed down there and got 35:00to getting scareder. Yeah that's that's what done it. But I'd see that coming way before it happened way before it happened. I see'd that strike buddy, a brewing and a mixing way before it ever took a hold. Son when you go to work and work eight or ten hours in a coal mine and come home and go to sleep and have nightmares of, about the mines you're working in for safety, hey it's time to do something or other buddy, Because they blowed Scotia up over there.

REYNOLDS: Um hm. They had the same problems that you guys had didn't they?

KIDD: Why sure. And this was gassier than Scotia, buddy. Because this right down here and under that river bed, buddy.

REYNOLDS: The fact that [phone rings] Blue Diamond owned Scotia was that helped put you guess out on strike.

KIDD: No no.

[Phone rings - Tape turned off]

REYNOLDS: Scotia didn't have a lot of bearing on .

KIDD: No, I forget how many was killed over there at Scotia

36:00

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (unclear)

[tape turned off]

KIDD: Now he told you that I would didn't he? [laughing]

REYNOLDS: Um. You had one final word on the strike, what , what's your biggest memory?

KIDD: Be the final word on the strike?

REYNOLDS: Yeah.

KIDD: Hoping it would stay on or?

REYNOLDS: No just how did you feel about it overall. I mean if you had to sit down and tell a fellow what you felt about the strike what would you say?

KIDD: Hell with the scab. Did that, would that answer it?

REYNOLDS: um hm.

KIDD: Hell with the scab.

REYNOLDS: Bob I want to thank you for letting me come here and be with you this evening.

KIDD: And I'm, and let me tell you some thing, bud, I don't know whether you know this or not. I don't know whether your dad told you or not. Is that thing running?

REYNOLDS: Um hm.

KIDD: Let her run. You're either born a scab or you're born a union man and 37:00don't let no one tell you different. It's born in you bud. My dad taught me when I was little, if I go up to a bunch of men they on a strike, turn and go the other way, don't bother. [phone rings] And that's good advice.

REYNOLDS: Bob thank you I appreciate the, thank you.

KIDD: Yes sir. Yeah buddy.

END OF INTERVIEW